Over the past few months, I’ve had the greatest privilege of my life campaigning to serve Montana in the U.S. House. I’ve traveled to every corner of the state and met with people of all ages and backgrounds who have stories just like the one I heard recently from a young woman named Katie.
Katie is a cancer survivor. She and her husband and young daughter live in Bozeman. And she’s one of over 420,000 Montanans — that’s nearly half the state — with a pre-existing health condition.
All of those people could face financial ruin because of a health care bill the U.S. House just passed and that my opponent supports. Our health care is at stake this election, and that’s why I’m asking for your vote.
I know how worrisome it can be to face a mountain of medical debt. Back in the 1990s, I had complications following a botched surgery that threw me and my family into debt. I eventually paid off our debt — every dime — but I learned a lesson that no Montanan should have to learn. No one should ever face the possibility of bankruptcy just because they get sick.
But that’s not the leadership we’re getting from Washington right now and those aren’t the ideas my opponent, New Jersey multi-millionaire Greg Gianforte, has articulated. He has a different view on health care.
He supports the health care bill floating around Congress right now that would raise costs for patients and eliminate health coverage for 70,000 Montanans. And it would end protections for pre-existing conditions, making health care unaffordable for people like Katie — all to pay for huge tax breaks for millionaires like Gianforte himself.
If the bill that Gianforte said he was “thankful” for passing the U.S. House becomes law, Katie told me her premiums might go up so much that she’d have to sell off her house just to make monthly payments. And that might only cover a year or two. She’s just one of thousands of Montanans who could face such devastation.
No real Montanan would support a plan that punishes working families for getting sick in exchange for more tax breaks to millionaires.
Montanans can’t afford to send Greg Gianforte to the U.S. House. We need someone who will fight to ensure that affordable health care becomes a reality for all Montanans.
Our healthcare system is far from perfect. But we need to come up with bipartisan solutions to lower the cost of care and maintain access in our rural communities — not go back to the days when you couldn’t afford to get sick and being a woman was a preexisting condition.
This election could not be more critical for the future of Montana. Vote on Thursday, May 25, and let’s send a statement to Washington D.C. that Montanans will not stand by and watch politicians like Gianforte take away our health care to give tax breaks to millionaires.
I’m running to represent all Montanans, not just the millionaires. And together we’ll fight for the right of all Montanans to have access to quality and affordable health care.
Rob Quist is the Democratic candidate in the U.S. House race.
Quist pledges to fight for affordable health care | Guest Columns